Vernon connecting historic North Okanagan trails

A missing link in an historic North Okanagan trail will be restored thanks to the recent acquisition of lands by local government.

The City of Vernon and Regional District of North Okanagan will take four acres of land dedicated by a developer on Davison Road for park use, while 3.6 acres of trail right of way will connect the Turtle Mountain and Bella Vista sections of the Grey Canal Trail.

“The development of the Grey Canal Trail has been a passion project for many community members, local government representatives, and avid local trail users for nearly 20 years,” said Vernon Mayor Victor Cumming in a news release.

The land is one of the last privately owned portions along the 35-kilometre trail.

The city said it worked with developer Westco Properties to acquire the park land and trail land.

The Grey Canal was built by Lord and Lady Aberdeen. In 1905, they began an project to move water from lakes on highlands southeast of Vernon, across the Coldstream Valley, and along the benchlands that circle Vernon.

It was completed in 1914, at a cost of $423,000.

The Grey Canal played an important role in the subdivision of ranchlands and orchards.

“Earlier this year, we received a $110,000 grant from the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture & Sport and the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association to develop this section of the trail and install interpretive signage. Now that we have attained ownership, we can put the grant to use and begin trail development in the spring of 2022,” said Akbal Mund, chairman of the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee.

Cross Country Ski and Snow Shoe trails



Silverstar Mountain Resort, VERNON


Discover the beauty, sweeping views and 700cm of annual snowfall in the Monashee Mountain range! Silverstar is located 22 km East of Vernon and is a full mountain resort offering a variety of activities and services.

More Info: -HERE-

Map: -HERE-



Sovereign Lake, VERNON


Check out Canada’s largest groomed network of cross-country ski and snow shoe trails! Sovereign Lake is a designated nordic centre 24 km East of Vernon. The high elevation, abundance of dry snowfall and mild winter temperatures provide for outstanding conditions.

More Info: -HERE-

Map: -HERE-



Predator Ridge, VERNON


Explore 1,200 acres on snowshoes! Predator Ridge is a golf community tucked up in the hills 15 km South of Vernon. In the winter, you will find a wonderland of snow, mountain & lake views, wildlife and un-groomed (but well tromped) snowshoe trails.

More Info: -HERE-

Map: -HERE-



Kelowna Nordic Club, KELOWNA


Perched in the hills, come and experience a unique skiing experience filled with state-of-the-art grooming and rustic facilities! Kelowna Nordic Club is 50 km east of Kelowna.

More Info: -HERE-

Map: -HERE-



Big White Mountain Resort, KELOWNA


Hailed as Canada’s largest ski-in, ski-out resort village, Big White is nestled high in the mountain tops! 56 km east of Kelowna, you will find your self in a vibrant little winter town full of things to do.

More Info: -HERE-

Map: -HERE-



Telemark Nordic Club, WEST KELOWNA


Discover stunning ski and shoe trails through snow-kissed forests with sweeping valley views. Telemark is a mountain gem 26km West of Kelowna (see map below in red).

More Info: -HERE-

Map: -HERE-


36 per cent of non-emergency calls to Vernon RCMP are not a police matter


Make the right call

With the surge in demand for emergency services, Vernon North Okanagan RCMP wants to remind the public to ‘make the right call’ during the busy summer months.

Const. Chris Terleski said E-Comm, the agency responsible for handling the majority of emergency calls in the province, reports up to 36 per cent of police non-emergency calls do not belong on these lines and need to be directed to other more appropriate resources.

“Our detachment is supported by E-Comm and the Southeast District RCMP Operational Communication Centre (OCC), which is one of the largest and busiest RCMP 911 police dispatch centres in Canada,” said Terleski. “Often, calls to police non-emergency lines are not police matters and should be referred to another agency such as ICBC, the BC Residential Tenancy Branch, or municipal bylaw services. Any time we can direct these calls to a more appropriate resource, not only does it save time, but it eases the strain on E-Comm and our OCC and ensures essential communication lines remain free for emergency and police matters.
Anyone experiencing a life-threatening emergency, is urged to call 911, but if the call is of a non-urgent nature, people are asked to:

  • check online to see if you should call your local police non-emergency line;
  • report the incident using our online crime-reporting tool at;
  • or reach out to an alternate resource.

A full list of links to online crime reporting and non-emergency phone numbers is available through E-Comm.

Up to a foot of fresh powder at ski resorts across the Thompson-Okanagan

Fresh pow blankets ski hills

Monday’s winter storm that caused havoc on highways brought an early Christmas present to Thompson-Okanagan ski hills.

Resorts received up a foot of fresh snow across the region.

Vernon’s Silver Star Mountain Resort saw 24 centimetres fall. As of midday Tuesday, conditions were mild, with the thermometer at -8 C and an alpine base of 136 cm.

“Looks like Santa is planning on giving us all an early Christmas present,” the resort posted as the snow began falling yesterday.

Big White Ski Resort east of Kelowna saw the most snow in the region, with 33 cm over the past 24 hours.

The alpine base is currently 148 cm, with a temperature of -10 C.

At Apex Resort near Penticton, it’s -6 C.

The resort received 23 cm of fresh snow during the storm, bringing its alpine base to 91 cm.

As of midday, its Quickdraw Quad lift was on standby due to high winds.

At Sun Peaks, near Kamloops, not quite so much snow came down, but the mountain still received 9 cm of fresh powder.

Its alpine base is 122 cm, and it was -11 as of midday.

“Powder Alert! … 33 cm over the last seven days means there are plenty of fresh turns to be found out there,” the resort posted on its Facebook page.

Vernon martial arts gym trying to navigate murky provincial health orders

Gym waits for rules clarity

The owner of a Vernon martial arts gym says he’s just trying to understand public health orders as he awaits clarity from health inspectors.

Mario Deveault of NOS Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu says he’s still operating as allowed under the latest pandemic restrictions from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, which permit group fitness classes for youths.

Where his questions arise is in instances where families come in together to train – parents and children.

Deveault says such groups are already part of their own family bubble, so there is no risk of virus transmission, and he has continued to allow them to train, pending advice from health inspectors.

“I am allowed to train kids, but not adults … but what about when it’s kids and adults together in their own family?” he asked.

The latest provincial restrictions regarding physical activities and gyms, updated Dec. 9, state that high-intensity group fitness activities must be suspended to slow the spread of COVID-19.

These include adult group fitness activities such as aerobics, hot yoga, circuit training and spin classes.

Lower-intensity group fitness activities are also temporarily suspended.

The province says businesses that close due to COVID-19 restrictions could be eligible to receive rent support of up to 90 per cent.

But, the rules become a little more murky as they pertain to gyms. Recreation facilities that offer individual workouts and personal training sessions can remain open as long as they have a COVID-19 safety plan.

Meanwhile, all adult indoor and outdoor team sports are suspended, including martial arts, but youth classes and team sports can continue with physical distancing. Games, tournaments and competitions are suspended, however.

Individual drills and modified training activities can continue, the provincial website states.

Deveault says he has been in communication with health inspectors and is awaiting clarity on the matter.

“It’s definitely not a defiant action,” he said in reference to the provincial guidance. “I’m just trying to keep my business alive while navigating some vague outlines until I can have that conversation with the health inspector and clear up the confusion.”

Meanwhile, Deveault said the seeming inconsistency of being allowed to go to the mall, restaurants but not to church doesn’t make sense to him.

“I have families come in with their kids, and what am I supposed to say? The kids can train, but you can’t?

“I’m still waiting for an answer to that question.”

He says his business “took a huge hit” during the first provincial lockdown that has continued during ever-tightening restrictions.

“They keep moving the goal posts,” he said. “I’m doing my best to stay open and play by the rules.”

Vernon business to appear on Dragon’s Den next week

Vernon firm faces dragons

A Vernon business will attempt to slay the dragons next week.

Bottle None will be on the popular CBC business-pitch show Dragon’s Den Dec. 17 at 9 p.m.

Dragon’s Den is a place where aspiring entrepreneurs can pitch their business concepts and products to a panel of Canadian business moguls in the hope of gaining investors.

Bottle None began operating last November and is now listed in more than 100 stores across Canada and the U.S.

The company produces products such as shampoo, conditioner, deodorant and other products without the use of plastic bottles.

“We have even landed deals with distributors and are proud that our bars will be in all of the Whole Foods Canada locations in March of 2021,” said Jaye Siegmuller, who started the company with her sister, Ali.

“We produce our bars right here in Vernon. Each bar replaces two to three plastic bottles. The bars are salon grade, PH balanced and are free from parabens, SLS and SCS.

“We have been making natural products under another brand (Bare Nature) for the past eight years, and after opening the Okanagan’s first zero-waste shop, we hit the lab to create a Canadian made bottle-less hair care line.”

Jaye says the average person uses 10 plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles a year, and only 15 per cent of plastics typically get recycled.

“That means over three billion plastic hair-care bottles hit the landfill every year,” she said.

Jaye could not comment on how their TV appearance went, but said it was exciting to be on the program.

CounterAttack road checks begin this weekend in Vernon

Road checks set to begin

Vernon RCMP will join a month-long CounterAttack against impaired driving.

The local blitz of seasonal road checks will kick off Saturday, in support of National Impaired Driving Enforcement Month.

Throughout December, officers will team up with the RCMP’s North Okanagan Traffic Services and BC Integrated Road Safety Unit in a joint effort to remove drunk drivers from the road.

With check-stops and additional patrols, expect to see an increased police presence on the street, says spokesperson Const. Chris Terleski.

“Impaired drivers, whether by alcohol or other drugs, are a threat to safety on our roadways, and there is zero tolerance for those who choose to take the risk and drive under the influence,” says Terleski.

The public is encouraged to make responsible choices and keep roads safe.

“Tragically, too many people are injured or killed in preventable alcohol and drug-related collisions every year. If you are going to drink alcohol or consume cannabis, please stay home, and do not drive.”

Every year, an average of 67 people are killed in B.C. where impairment by alcohol, drugs or medication was a contributing factor, according to ICBC.

Vernon care home encourages gifts to locked down seniors as survey shows many dealing with loneliness

Reaching out to seniors

As a recent study found seniors more afraid of loneliness than COVID-19, one Vernon seniors home is helping connect generations by encouraging letter writing.

The Hamlets at Vernon is collecting pens, pencils and paper to use as stocking stuffers so residents will have something to open on Christmas morning.

And this Christmas will undoubtedly be different from years past for many seniors.

“Visitation this year has been very different, so we’re just trying to do something extra for our residents,” says general manager Mark Massar.

“This is something our staff can help our residents with if they want to communicate with their families who aren’t able to visit as often.”

Pen pal services have been set up in other communities, such as middle school students who are writing letters to seniors at Cherry Park Retirement Residence in Penticton. While a pen pal program is not planned for The Hamlets, it isn’t out of the question.

“We think a pen pal program would be great for our seniors. The only thing is that some of our residents who are in long-term care or suffer from arthritis would have difficulty writing,” says Massar. “But I actually do have some entrepreneurs calling me asking if we’d be interested in doing a pen pal program, so I’ll be meeting with them and seeing if it might be able to work.”

Limited visitation during the pandemic has been tough on seniors in care homes and their families across the country. A recent BC study reported people in care homes are actually more afraid of dying of loneliness than of the coronavirus.

“The comments we heard from hundreds of family members is a greater fear of death from loneliness” because of pandemic rules that limit visits, B.C. seniors’ advocate Isobel Mackenzie said earlier this month.

To donate stocking stuffers or money to purchase the gifts for seniors, call Lauren Knapton at 778-686-0282.

Innovation centre open soon

The brand-new innovation centre in downtown Vernon is set to open in less than two months.

Accelerate Okanagan and Community Futures Okanagan will be opening The VIEW, which stands for Vernon Innovation & Entrepreneur Workspace, on September 1st. The new centre aims to bring together local entrepreneurs, innovators and creators in the North Okanagan.

“In order to fully serve entrepreneurs and community members, we need to create more connection opportunities to the broader innovation ecosystem,” says Brea Lake, CEO of Accelerate Okanagan. “By leveraging the existing organizations in our networks, we can help to accelerate economic growth in the North Okanagan.”

The VIEW will offer support services, flexible office space and collaboration opportunities for members of the community. There is also hope that the new space will benefit other downtown businesses as well.

“Something that has been front-of-mind for us is the positive impact we’re hoping to see on surrounding businesses,” says, Leigha Horsfield, general manager, Community Futures North Okanagan. “Our hope is that we’ll see more organizations benefit from the increased activity around the VIEW.”

The new innovation centre will be located at the old Naked Pig restaurant, attached to the Marten Brewpub. There is currently a waitlist available to reserve workspaces. For more information, you can visit

Vernon’s new Splashdown waterslide park will open this weekend

After operating as Atlantis Waterslides for over two decades, Vernon’s popular waterpark has a new name and some new COVID-19 friendly rules.

Splashdown Vernon will officially open the floodgates on Saturday, July 18, after being purchased by the same owner as Cultus Lake waterpark in 2019.

To reduce capacity during COVID-19, the rebranded waterpark will operate in four-hour sessions, two times a day.

The first session runs from 10 am to 2 pm and the second operates from 3 pm to 7 pm.

There are no reservations, so customers are asked to arrive early to ensure entry and can expect to enter the facility no earlier than 30 minutes before opening.

Tickets cost a flat rate of $25 for all ages, with kids under 36 inches tall getting in for free alongside a paid adult.

Guests are also being asked to shower, change into their swimwear at home and arrive in groups six or less.

The park’s concession stand and ice cream shop will be open.